By Dianne Bunis
The farmers market offers locally grown, seasonal vegetables harvested that day and frankly, it doesn't get any fresher. I picked up red beets, spinach, thyme and local honey. Beets are an amazing source of healthy nutrients and roasting brings out their natural sweetness. The vinaigrette marries the tart of lime with sweet honey and thyme's minty-lemon.
Roasted Beets with Lime Vinaigrette
1 bunch red beets, scrub clean, remove green tops
1 bunch spinach, washed well and torn
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzle
2 tbs. red-wine vinegar
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, rinsed, finely chopped
2 limes, cut in halves
1 tsp. finely grated lime zest
1 tsp. local honey
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F. On a foil lined baking sheet, spread beets, drizzle with olive oil and cover with another sheet of foil. Roast for 1 hour, test beets for tenderness with a fork. Continue roasting beets if necessary, checking every 15 minutes until tender, remove from oven.
While beets are roasting, prepare vinaigrette: In a glass measuring cup, squeeze juice of 2 limes, remove any pits. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, thyme, zest and whisk together.
Cool beets under warm water, removing skins. After beets have cooled but still warm to the touch, cut beets into quarters, place in a bowl.
Pour vinaigrette over beets, stir to combine. Serve beets on a bed of fresh spinach leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Tip for storing unused thyme:
Wrap a crumpled paper towel around herb, then wrap loosely in plastic wrap and place in a refrigerator compartment. Rinse just before using. Use on vegetables, chicken, fish and eggs.